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Jairam stands firm on MNREGA expansion plan

After agriculture minister and finance Minister raised concerns with the Prime Minister over the negative impact of Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the rural development minister on 30 January wrote a letter to the Prime Minister rejecting the claim made by the two ministers. Both the ministers have been of the view that MGNREGA has led to the shortage of availability of labour for agricultural operations.

In his letter to Prime Minister, the rural development minister Jairam Ramesh has said that the decrease in agricultural labour force as a share of a total economic activity is a trend that precedes MGNREGA and the reason for this decrease may be employment in secondary and tertiary sectors .

Dispelling the notion that the increase in MGNREGA wages is causing an upward pressure in agricultural wages, the minister in his letter states the example of Karnataka where there has been an increase in labour employment in urban, peri urban areas since the increase in non-farm wage was almost 200 per cent over MGNREGA wage. The increase in non-farm wage attracts susbtantial youth from rural areas.
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